Guest blog by Paige Jones, MCM Net.

What could $10,000 worth of free advertising do for your charity? You may well have heard of Google Ad Grants but if you haven’t, Google Ads is Google’s pay-per-click advertising platform. The Ad Grants programme provides eligible nonprofit organisations with $10,000 worth of in-kind advertising per month to be used within the platform.

This free advertising, when managed correctly, will get you noticed for relevant searches and drive more potential supporters to your website. It can be used to help your organisation to increase awareness of your cause, generate more donations, attract new volunteers or increase event signups. However, there are many charities not yet taking advantage of this.

This blog will cover how to find out if you’re eligible, how you can apply for the grant, what you should consider when setting up campaigns and how to comply with the policies that are in place to prevent your account from being suspended.


There are certain criteria in place to ensure eligibility, these include being registered with the Charity Commission, Inland Revenue or the Office for Scottish Charity Regulator. You also need to have a high-quality website with valuable content. The full criteria can be found here.

Once you have been granted access to Ad Grants, there are further policies in place which you must comply with in order to remain eligible.

Applying for Google Ad Grants

If you qualify, go to Google for Nonprofits, in the top-right, click Get started, then follow the steps to request your account. It can take a couple of weeks to be approved, so use this time wisely by identifying what you want to achieve from this platform.

Once you’ve been approved, you need to log in and create your Google Ads account and follow the activation guide which can be found here.

Setting up Campaigns

Following account activation, you can get started on creating campaigns to help you achieve your fundraising, volunteering, awareness and donation goals. Here is a diagram of how you should be structuring your account.

Each campaign should represent an area of your website that you want to promote. 

Google Ad Grants

Let’s take a children’s hospice as an example and imagine that their 3 main goals are:

  1. Generate signups for their fundraising events
  2. Increase income from donations and
  3. Attract volunteers from the local community

At a very basic level, their account might look a little something like this:

Each ad group should include both broad match keywords and exact match keywords. Broad match keywords cover any search relevant to the keyword you have used, exact match keywords only show ads to users searching for that exact term.

Examples of keywords for the ad group ‘bike ride’ could be; bike ride near me, cycle routes near me. Keywords for the ad group ‘donations’ could be; donate to local children’s hospice and donate to local cause.

You should research your keywords carefully to ensure your ads are relevant.

Ad Grants Policies

There are a number of policies that Google have put in place to ensure that Ad Grants does not affect the quality of ads being served to the users. These policies include:

  • No single word keywords
  • No branded keywords
  • Maintaining a 5% click through rate on your account
  • At least 2 ad groups per campaign
  • At least 2 ads per ad group
  • At least 3 sitelink extensions

Failure to comply with the policies puts your account at risk of suspension so regular monitoring of your account is key.

If you’d like support with setting up Google Ad Grants, have had your account suspended or want to maximise the results you are currently getting, get in touch with MCM Net on 01732 368120. MCM Net are one of only a few UK members of the Google Ad Grants Certified Professionals community, with exclusive access to advanced education and interaction with the Ad Grants team, are first to be exposed to new tools and features and provide feedback to guide future Ad Grants strategies.

MASSIVE 'thank you ' to everyone at Kent Community Foundation. Your funding support is HUGELY appreciated and has enabled us to get into the heart of local communities with REAL, affordable, healthy and tasty food that does so much more than feed people.

Community chef Mike Spackman, Sheppey Matters

KCF's enthusiasm for what we are doing and hoping to do, coupled with helpful advice, gave us the confidence to take this daunting step which has paid off.

Liz Turner, Octopus Foundation

It's great having a foundation that empowers organisations and charities in our community to make real positive differences and changes!

Tom, MMK Mind
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